Welcome, Friend!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Veritas-Health LLC has recently released patient forums to our Arthritis-Health web site.

Please visit http://www.arthritis-health.com/forum

There are several patient story videos on Spine-Health that talk about Arthritis. Search on Patient stories
Protect anonymity
We strongly suggest that members do not include their email addresses. Once that is published , your email address is available to anyone on the internet , including hackers.

All discussions and comments that contain an external URL will be automatically moved to the spam queue. No external URL pointing to a medical web site is permitted. Forum rules also indicate that you need prior moderator approval. If you are going to post an external URL, contact one of the moderators to get their approval.
Attention New Members
Your initial discussion or comment automatically is sent to a moderator's approval queue before it can be published.
There are no medical professionals on this forum side of the site. Therefore, no one is capable or permitted to provide any type of medical advice.
This includes any analysis, interpretation, or advice based on any diagnostic test

Nerve Irritation vs. Nerve Compression

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,671
Hi all,

I was wondering if anyone understands the difference between ‘nerve root irritation’ and ‘nerve root compression’. How can a nerve be irritated without being compressed? I’ve tried reading through resources online, but I’m just not getting it. (The fact that I just started lyrica and have some major brain fuzz going on is not helping! #o )

My MRI says that at the L4-L5 levels I have moderate bilateral foraminal stenosis, spondylolisthesis, a bulging disk with an annular tear, facet joint osteoarthritis, as well as a compression fracture to my L1. The ortho surgeon said my nerves are irritated and not compressed.

I have had bilateral leg pain, (going all the way down into one foot only), for 3 months now. I can only sit for 5-10minutes max. Standing is almost as bad now, and lying down no longer provides the relief it once did.

Can this be from nerve irritation only?

Thanks for any insight/help!


  • my name is pete. i think i know the answer as i was just reading about disk tears.
    the fluid in the middle of the disk is very irritating to nerves. there are nerves in the outside circumference of the material that surrounds the fluid.a tear can release the fluid. when the fluid hits those nerves it can irritate them and cause your symptoms even though there is no compression. almost like soap getting in your eye. if the fluid flows out to hit the covering of the spinal nerves it can cause even more pain. when the pain is generated by the disk in this fashion it is called discogenic pain...pain is pain. and i'm sorry you have it....pete
  • Exactly! INFLAMMATION!!!
    For example, the outer disc fibers may tear. This can then cause back pain related to nasty chemicals your body releases locally (including the nearby region of the nerve roots) in reponse to the tear (your so called irritation). Then, leg symptoms may even develop days later as a result of inflammation without significant compression or as a result of additional disc material extruding out/herniating out thru the tear and compressing the nerve root. Oral steroid packs and epidural steroid injections act to counter the inflammation in hopes of relieving symptoms while your body tries to heal.
  • wow! Thanks to both of you Athlete and Pete! I had no idea and had not heard of such a thing. (it makes sense though) I will do some more reading on it.

    thanks for the info!
Sign In or Register to comment.